She was told she couldn’t dance or teach group fitness. Boy were they wrong! Mel Tempest is a group fitness consultant who works with fitness facilities looking to increase their group fitness revenue. She has presented group fitness internationally and is the owner of Ballarat Body & Soul health club, which has over 76 per cent group fitness attendance.
Love her or hate her she is a powerful force in the group fitness scene and wider fitness industry in Australia. She has very kindly agreed to share some of her experiences in the Fitness Industry, what keeps her going through the bad times and some lessons she has learnt. Here are her answers.
Q1. What was the reason you opened/bought a club 10 years ago?
A1. I got into the industry after a relative died and I had a lot of spare time after looking after them. I joined a club, with a friend on shop a docket deal. 12 months later I did the course and nearly went home at lunchtime on the first day because I thought I’m not going to be able to do it. I went back the next day.
After working in the industry for about 12 months I wanted to teach BodyJam. My GFM at the time told me I couldn’t dance and it would never happen. At 36 I couldn’t imagine not wanting to give someone a go so I decided to open a gym. I had no idea what I was doing but 2 years later we were born. Now we own the building our club is in!
Q2. What has been a highlight for you over the past 10 years?
A2. Actually even though I have had amazing global teaching experiences with some amazing performers my highlight really is giving back to those in the industry. I really am passionate about helping others. Actually probably go overboard sometimes.
Q3. What has been a challenge?
A3. Having $3.63 in the bank and having to pay wages, but we did!
Q4. How has this business fitted into your role as a Mum?
A4. My kids now 28, 26, and 18 have missed out on their Mum a lot. Though as the years go on you make more time and do the best you can to make up for time. In our industry in the first few years balance can be difficult and sadly lost time is never recovered. In saying that I have always encouraged them to dream and strive for more.
Q5.What is your plan for the future?
A5. I still own my club still teach 12 classes per week and love it! The club runs itself. I’m open to new opportunities. I love challenges and I love marketing and selling product I’m passionate about.
Q6. What is your reaction to the fact that most members are joining franchised clubs now? (From the Fitness Industry survey – Member infograph which is available to download for free.)
A6. I have learnt over the years that people will always want to try something new. It’s in our nature to do so and that’s ok. As independent club owners we need to stay focused and focus on why our members come to our club. Build stronger relationships and meet the needs of the demographic of those in the club…not worry about the 24/7 down the road it will only do your head in! A survey via FB on my own club resulted in members preferring a place of social atmosphere, variety and most importantly affordable. <Author’s note – affordability and location were found to be the two main factors members joined a club in the Fitness Industry Survey also.)
Q7. What do independent clubs need to do to grow and thrive in the future?
A7. Wow might get booed off stage for this -my experience is that club owners need to get up and have a good look at their club. They need not to rely on others to run particular areas of the club. Sadly sometimes these positions are run by people to suit themselves and not the members. Club owners need to research more over the internet, learn to use social media to derive income for their club. Don’t be afraid to learn and ask questions – getting help could create the best revenue ever.
I love a great product and I love to encourage others to use it….but wow it’s so surprising how many clubs don’t acknowledge group fitness, great software and retention tools!
Mel is a group fitness consultant who works with fitness facilities looking to increase their group fitness revenue. She has presented group fitness internationally and is the owner of Ballarat Body & Soul health club, which has over 76 per cent group fitness attendance. Catch Mel on the Your Group Fitness Expert – Mel Tempest facebook Page or visit www.meltempest.net